It’s been a great 13 months of reading women-focused books y’all! There are over six hundred reviews in the Mr. Linky, which is incredible. What a wonderful resource for any future readers! We would like to thank every participant and congratulate all of you for embracing the challenge. If you’d like more women’s studies in your life next year, do look into the Year of Feminist Classics that begins in January. Other women-centric challenges we’ve noted include: the Heroine’s Bookshelf Reading Challenge, Femme Fatale Reading Challenge, and Strong Heroine Reading Challenge. If you’ve seen other relevant challenges, feel free to share the links in the comments!
While we’ve loved seeing the challenge grow, none of us are going to be able to host it again. However, if any of you are interested in taking over as host or co-hosts, you can e-mail us (Eva: astripedarmchairATgmailDOTcom Care: bkclubcareATgmailDOTcom), and we’ll sort something out.
Greetings, Women Unbound Challenge Participants!
We have approximately SIX weeks remaining in this challenge and want to congratulate all of you who have read all and more of the books you set out to read this year and to encourage those who may have yet more books to read. I myself have high hopes to read Hermione Lee’s bio of Virginia Woolf before that last day of November. I have enjoyed reading and exploring Women’s Study here in this corner of the book blogosphere and hope you have as well.
Oh yes I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
I was going to start off this post with the lyrics to Helen Reddy’s song “I am Woman” – does anyone know if copyrights are violated if I would do that? OK, I’ll do little snippets as quotes…
Allow me to reminisce a bit and share that this song from the 1970’s was playing on the radio when I was a kid and I attribute it for awaking in me the idea of Equality for Women. The Equal Rights Amendment was a big hot debate and still is; but back then, I recall just sitting, pondering and thinking about what equality MEANT. And wondering why everyone was so upset with it.
I am woman watch me grow
See me standing toe to toe
As I spread my lovin’ arms across the land
But I’m still an embryo
With a long long way to go
Until I make my brother understand
And the fight continues! The lyrics website the popped up when I googled for the words to this song is LyricsDepot.com. Why I point this out is because the comments at the bottom of the post represent some crazy backward and annoying thoughts expressed by negative people. Thankfully, many many more comments are positive and inspiring.
Thank you for participating in the Women Unbound Challenge and THANK YOU for being positive, inspiring and enthusiastic. Tell me, has your 2010 been enhanced by this experience of studying women’s issues in fiction and nonfiction?
I am strong (strong)
I am invincible (invincible)
I am woman.
Greetings Women Unbound Challenge Participants!
We have OVER 500 reviews to date! WOW.
May was really half way so we’re a bit beyond that actually. You have FIVE and half months to go. I know I’ve seen some wrap-up posts so many of you are already done with your book count goal and that is wonderful. Congratulations.
I, myself, find it quite easy to explore the feminist or woman-experience side of most of the books I’ve been reading but have attempted to broaden my challenge experience to include a variety of topics. I still have a few more books to go before I can check off the completion box. How about you?
I just wanted to acknowledge you and share that your challenge hosts are still around even if we haven’t posted recently here at the main blog page…
Keep on keepin’ on and I do want to encourage you to read and comment on other participants’ review posts. Has anyone else read the book(s) you’ve reviewed? Visit amongst yourselves and make some new friends. If you are on Twitter, use the #unbound hashtag and share your review with even more people.
OH! and if anyone wants to submit a guest post for this spot, please do. ☺
It looks like everyone is doing really well with this challenge! Personally, I set a goal of reading certain books for the challenge, but through my reading, I have come across other books that seem to meet the criteria and I’ve used those instead. It’s been really fun and informative to look back on my reading from the feminist perspective.
Someone else who wants to share her feminist perspective on history is Lucy from Enchanted by Josephine. Lucy blogs a lot about French history and books that take place in France. (And elsewhere in Europe). And clearly, Europe has produced a great number of feminists! Here are two that Lucy wants to share with all participants. What do you think? Are they unbound?
Enjoy and happy reading!
Hello, all of you lovely Women Unbound participants. We’re two months into the challenge now, and we thought this would be a good time to do an update!
This challenge has become much more popular than any of us guessed: we’re at 122 participants as of today! How thrilling, that we’re all coming together to celebrate women. We also already have 99 reviews from participants! Pretty staggering, right? Together, we’re building a wonderful resource for anyone interested in reading books about women. Be sure to visit the reviews page and open up the Mr. Linky so that you can check out some of the reviews from your fellow unbound women. And be sure to leave comments on the reviews you read; many women’s studies books raise issues that lead to interesting discussions. Also, when you’re writing a review, you might spend a sentence or two on why you chose the book for Women Unbound if it’s not self-evident.
Of course, if you haven’t started reading any books yet, or if you’ve just stumbled across the blog and want to sign up now, remember that the challenge runs for eleven more months. We’re still in the beginning phase, and you’ve got plenty of time!
If you’re interested in guest-posting, feel free to leave a comment here. And we hope you’re all enjoying yourselves, but if you have any questions or concerns, you can also comment here.
Thanks to you all for making the challenge such a success so far; we can’t wait to see what the next months bring!
(Thanks to Kimber for the latest challenge button, illustrating this post!)
Please allow me to introduce to you one of my kindred spirits in the book blogging world – – I’ve been following this impressive college student’s blog for quite awhile and we have discovered quite a few shared interests in nonfiction and fiction alike. She is studying journalism and offers many perspectives on this field as well as sharing thoughts on blogging and social media; she is the host of the Blog Improvement Project. Visit Kim’s blog at SophisticatedDorkiness.com.
Finding My Path to Feminism: Growing up Groovy and Conservative
When I started college, I was a pretty staunch conservative and pretty decidedly anti-feminist. I thought of the feminist movement as one that was full of over-sensitive women who looked down on people like my mom, a woman who had voluntarily given up her career to stay at home with my brother, sister, and I.
As someone who grew up with a supportive family and school environment, there hadn’t really been anything that I wanted to do that someone told me I couldn’t do just because I was a girl. I just didn’t really see the point of joining the feminist movement as I understood it because I felt like women had achieved what they wanted to.
My perception of feminism changed, however, after reading a book. So that’s what I’m guest posting about – how a book made me think about feminism in a whole new way and set me on the path to actually being able to call myself a feminist.
The book I’m writing about is Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress: Tales of Growing Up Groovy and Clueless by Susan Jane Gilman. I got the book as a gift from my best friend for my 20th birthday. She told me she picked it out because she was browsing memoirs at a used bookstore and the title reminded her of me. I was a little worried about being considered “groovy and clueless,” but of course I read the book anyway.
I haven’t read the book in about five years so my memory of the details is sketchy at best, but I do remember the pivotal essay in the book (for me) in which Gilman writes about her experience balancing her feminist beliefs with the traditions and expectations of a wedding.
After Gilman get engaged to her fiancé, “The Amazing Bob,” the two of them go out of their way to plan the “anti-wedding” complete with only a deejay, an ice cream truck, and a bartender. But of course, things get drastically out of control because of the expectations everyone else throws onto the big day.
The biggest complaint friends and family had about the wedding was that Gilman didn’t want to have a traditional white wedding dress. “My plan was to be ‘the Anti-Bride’ and walk down the aisle in scarlet or black,” Gilman wrote. “Let’s face it. I’m neither royalty nor a virgin. Who would I be kidding? In a traditional wedding gown I’d just be a hypocrite in a pouffy white dress.”
Her friends insisted that Gilman at least try on some white wedding dresses, and she reluctantly agreed. It’s at David’s Bridal while wearing the biggest, pouffiest, whitest, and most wedding-y wedding dress that Gilman had the epiphany that caused my own feminist epiphany.
She wrote, “Every woman should have this experience – and not only if or when she gets married. Every woman should see herself looking uniquely breathtaking, in something tailored to celebrate her body, so that she is better able to appreciate her own beauty and better equipped to withstand the ideals of our narrow-waisted, narrow-minded culture.” So in this really weird way, David’s Bridal became a “bizarrely feminist place: a froufrou heaven staffed by women dedicated to making sure that other women look astonishing.”
Maybe that’s obvious, but for me that was a revelation. It shocked me that a feminist could see something as traditional as a wedding as revolutionary and that a feminist could actually accept this most traditional thing as part of her ideology. Suddenly, the whole idea of feminism seemed to open up in a way that I couldn’t figure out.
The essay sparked a year-long project where I explored the history, development, and challenges to the modern feminism movement. I wrote a series of articles for the political student magazine I was an editor for trying to see whether I could reconcile personal ideologies that seemed totally at odds. In the end I’m not sure whether I convinced anyone you could be conservative and a feminist, but I managed to find the balance for myself.
I’m not necessarily conservative anymore, but I’m definitely still a feminist. I believe that women should be able to choose any path they want, and that other women should be supportive of every path as long as the path is freely chosen. I’m a feminist that believes in opportunity for all women – something I’ve always had and something I believe all women deserve.
That’s still not especially radical, and it’s still a definition of feminism that I’m trying to understand and explain. But it’s one that I don’t think I would have come to if I hadn’t read Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress. If you haven’t read this memoir, you should. And if you have, I hope it was as inspirational for you as it was for me.
I cannot adequately express how excited I was when I learned about Women Unbound. At Color Online, we are committed to promoting women of color 365 days a year. I am a feminist, literacy advocate and a proponent of diversity. I am behind this challenge 100%.
I also believe what we say means less without action behind it. To that end, I am please to share that on behalf of Color Online, I will host a random book drawing every month for the duration of the challenge. Every month, I will draw the name of one WU participant who reviews a book by a woman of color to win a book prize from our Prize Bucket.
FYI, every month, I also draw a winner for Color Me Brown links. Double your odds and send me an email if you’d like me to feature your review for this weekly post and I’ll enter your name in our CMB drawing as well.
Hope many of you will explore and promote this overlooked group of writers. I am enjoying the challenge and I’ve enjoyed reading many of your reviews thus far.
The cohosts of the Women Unbound Challenge appreciate Color Online for the generous celebration offer to give away a monthly prize. Thank you.